There are limits to what people should “tolerate”

I read with shock, horror, and disgust the recent columns from the Chronicle’s Chip Johnson, the Tribune’s Tammerlin Drummon and Byron Williams, and yesterday’s Chronicle editorial defending the Mayor’s nomination of Oakland’s largest Proposition 8 donor, Lorenzo Hoopes, to a new term on the Paramount Theatre Board of Directors.

It’s an interesting contrast to the basically non-existent media outrage when District 1 Councilmember Jane Brunner blocked then-Mayor Jerry Brown’s appointment over Charles Hargrave to the Planning Commission because of his stated position on abortion. All four items basically boil down to the same argument – Hoopes shouldn’t be punished for his vote on Prop 8, and also, he’s old, so give the guy a break.

Give me a break. These four pieces attack the advocates lobbying against Hoopes’s appointment as “intolerant,” while fundamentally misrepresenting their arguments and dismissing their efforts as “hysterical,” “mean-spirited” “petty vengeance.”

It’s true, everyone has a Constitutional right to speech. But when one exercises that right, one also must accept that speech may come with consequences. And when one chooses to exercise that right by spending more money than I make in an entire year trying to take away rights from people, it’s possible that one of those consequences might be that those same people, in turn, just might decide that they no longer want to be represented by you.

You see, another thing that the aforementioned members of the media don’t appear to grasp is that, unlike political speech, there is no right to retain a seat on the Paramount Board, just because you happen to have been around for a long time. Those advocating for Hoopes’s re-appointment act like he’s being stripped of something he’s entitled to. What-EVER. Representing Oakland on a public body and making decisions about how public resources are run is a privilege, and it’s a privilege that should belong to people who represent the values of the community, not to people who campaign to institutionalize discrimination against its members.

Nobody is attempting to punish anyone for a vote. A vote is something you make in private. And nobody is trying to stifle free speech. What people are doing is using their own right of free speech to say very clearly that they don’t want to be represented by someone who played a significant role in writing discrimination specifically against them into the State Constitution. The only question is really whether the rest of this community thinks their rights are important enough to say they agree.

So, do we? Do our elected officials? Apparently, certain local columnists don’t. Frankly, I find that obscene. Jesus, people! We have a Constitution! It says that the law has to treat everyone the same! Nobody should be expected to “tolerate” being represented by someone who tries to take away their right to be treated equally. And I find it absolutely appalling to sit and read the local press attacking people for refusing to do so.

I applaud the equal rights activists leading the charge against Mr. Hoopes’s appointment. They aren’t stifling anyone else’s rights, they’re standing up for their own, and I sincerely hope they win. I think they will. After all, I sat and watched the Mayor speak about the importance of the battle for marriage equality a year and a half ago when he conducted the first gay weddings at City Hall. He spoke movingly and with deep passion about how this is a battle for civil rights just as important as the ones he fought many years ago, and a continuation of that work. If he meant any of the things he said, I know he will understand their position and see the necessity of this fight, regardless of how many local media outlets fail to.

151 thoughts on “There are limits to what people should “tolerate”

  1. Mary Hollis

    I disagree. Nobody, through Prop 8 or anything else, is taking away the rights for gays to marry. Gays never had that right throughout the entire history of California until very recently.

    Let me be clearer. I support gay marriage. I voted “No” on 8.

    But I also believe that the people of California have a right to vote on the nature of the institutions they have. And on whom should enjoy the privileges and benefits of those institutions.

    More specifically, individuals should be able to take either a private or a public stand on what is very personal, emotional and religious issue, without fearing that somehow the courage it takes to do that will be held against them.

    The Paramount is a fine institution. And those who manage it should be the best people with that competence, and not those who support a narrow and irrelevant set of policies that have no direct bearing on the facility.

    V, you do a good job here. But you have let emotion interfere with your reasonableness here. Oakland has enough problems without complicating the management of a revered theater with personal political vendetta’s.

  2. Bruce Nye

    I’m old enough to remember when much housing in the East Bay had restrictive racial covenants. I remember when the Rumford Fair Housing Act was enacted to end them, and end housing discrimination. And I remember the overwhelming passage of California’s Proposition 14 in 1964, where something like 65% of the California voters sought to overturn the Act, and reinstate the right to discriminate. Fortunately, the Cal Supremes overturned the initiative and SCOTUS affirmed. Can you imagine anyone today advocating for a commission appointee who supported the rights of homeowners to refuse to rent or sell housing to Jews or African-Americans? I sure can’t.

    The struggle for the rights of gays to marry is one of the civil rights struggles of our era. At some point in the future, Americans will look at the idea of settling this by majority vote and see that it was just as ridiculous and wrong as allowing a vote on whether landlords or employers can discriminate on the basis of race or religion. Until that day, more power to the activists, gay and straight, who remind those in government that it is no more ok to discriminate on the basis of sexual preference than it is to discriminate on the basis of race. Refusing the right to marry is just as severe a form of discrimination as refusing a job or a place to live.

  3. Mary Hollis


    And with all due respect to your obvious seniority:

    In case you missed the point, this wasn’t about how and whether important issues of our day should be decided.

    It’s about whether one side of a reasonable and ethical debate should effectively be tarred and feathered just because the other side to the debate happens to not be able to disagree agreeably.

    In our zeal to “progress” have we all lost our respect for those who differ?

  4. Patrick

    And obviously Mary Hollis entirely misses the point as well. Yes, gays and lesbians only had the right to marry in California “recently”. But until just 62 years ago, interracial marriage was also not allowed in California. In the timeline of humanity, that is not all that long either. So, let me ask you this: if Hoopes spoke out against interracial marriage, and spent $25000 in an attempt to take that right away from interracial couples, would you feel comfortable writing a comment similar to the one above? Or is that somehow different? And if so, why?

    In all actuality, there IS one big difference. Interracial couples didn’t have the right to marry given to them and then stripped away by a bunch “well, it was just recently”, talking-point spewing, bigoted idiots, cloaked in their religious fervor.

    Tammerlin Drummond’s column was most illuminating – about her character. Her column is frequently near-hysterical about thereal and perceived bias and bigotry leveled against her fellow East Oakland neighbors. But only the neighbors that aren’t gay or lesbian. I guess thinly veiled hatred is alright, when it doesn’t affect Tammerlin Drummond.

    Yes, let’s all hope that Hoopes gets elected to the board – revealing that you’ve spent thousands of dollars in personal cash to strip American citizens of their civil rights is something to be ignored and in his case, even rewarded.

  5. Mary Hollis


    Respectfully, it is you who misses the point here.

    Because the point is not whether gays, inter-racial couples, threesomes or siblings can or should marry.

    It’s about whether it is reasonable for someone to take the other side of the debate.

    If you are correct in your assessment of rights then you will prevail in this disagreement.

    But even so, you are not allowed to discredit or abuse those who oppose that viewpoint.

    The gentleman in question here may be an entirely eligible governor of an artistic institution even though he disagrees with you on who should enjoy which rights.

    You are appealing for tolerance and so it behooves you to show tolerance to those who disagree with you.

  6. Livegreen

    Or maybe it behooves us to show the intollerence that Hoopes has shown.

    While it is true that Mr. Hoopes has expressed an opinion that is different than most of us or Oaklander’s feel, and that we all have rights to our personal opinions, Mr.Hoopes has shown more than just an opinion: he has actively tried to limit the rights of our G&L citizens.

    I understand the right to an opinion that is different of mine, just as I would not want my volunteer activities to be reduced because of my personal opinions. On the other hand Mr. Hoopes took action to limit others civil rights.

    That, I think, is the key distinction that I hope all sides will recognize. If it becomes more than that and the personal opinions on this one issue becomes the paramount question for all citizen volunteers, the City will hemorage as other church and community members are dragged under the microscope.

    PS. Why s Mr. Hoopes is in the Paramount board to begin? Is it because of his fundraisiing abilities?

  7. Ralph

    Brunner was wrong earlier, and she is wrong now. The people speaking against this appointment sound petty because they always come back to the argument he gave $26K to yes on hate. Gee, I am sorry that you don’t have more money than God, but maybe ol’ Lorenzo does not have the ability to make 2600 hrs worth of phone calls.

    It is almost disturbing, correct that, it is disturbing that the residents of Oakland do not care for anyone who does not think like them. You are pro-life, sorry you are not wanted here. You voted for GWB, sorry you are not wanted here. You are against universal health care, sorry you are not wanted here. You believe in capitalism, sorry you are not wanted here. God forbid you are church going Republican, you are not wanted here. It has been said before but it is worth repeating, “You are appealing for tolerance and so it behooves you to show tolerance to those who disagree with you.”

    Ms. Hollis has a valid point and I agree with her.

    Mayor Dellums nominated Mr. Hoopes based on the unaminous support given to him by the Board. So, if you think Mr. Hoopes does not belong on the Board then by extension you must think the rest of the Board is not worthy of your support.

    I am guessing that The Paramount is running in the black but probably just barely. Where Mr. Hoopes has failed is in his stewardship of the center. The Paramount has brought entertainers that appeal to gay, straight, black, old, white, and black audiences. So please leave the comments about him being a homophobe and bigot at home. They do not advance the discussion. They only paint you as petty.

    All that being said, the Board probably has not been as aggressive in raising donations and support. They probably need to undertake a capital campaign. They probably need to do a better job defining its position in the Oakland arts scene and do what is necessary to be a leading arts center in the East Bay. On these matters, Mr. Hoopes and the entire board has failed. If you want to argue against his reappointment argue on the merits.

    Stop trying to make this a litmus test.

  8. MarleenLee

    If the issue were abortion rights, the death penalty, or any other controversial issue over which reasonable minds could differ, I would agree with Chip, Tammerlin et al. And if Mr. Hoopes had simply cast his ballot in a particular way, I could also agree with them. But the issues here are different. They are about equal rights and discrimination. They are about him being the single largest financial supporter of the measure. And these are critical distinctions. The 500+ people who subscribed to the Facebook page are largely simply taking a stand, and they have every right to do so, without being called “petty.”

    It shocks me as well that people are trying to cast this debate in terms of “tolerance.” If Mr. Hoopes were a member of the Ku Klux Klan, would Chip et al be defending his appointment on the grounds that he has a long history of philanthropy and we should respect his different viewpoint? And if Jews want to boycott Mel Gibson movies, is anybody going to castigate them for not being more tolerant of his antisemitic rants? I mean, he makes good, entertaining movies – who cares about his personal views?

    Why should discrimination against gays so much more acceptable than other forms of discrimination?

  9. dto510

    The assumption that people are entitled to their leadership roles just because they’ve been around forever is a big part of what’s holding Oakland back. I too applaud those who are taking the principled stand that Oakland’s civic arts organizations should not be led by top donors against civil rights for gays and lesbians.

  10. Max Allstadt

    Mary Hollis,

    It isn’t reasonable for someone to take the other side of the debate. There’s a pretty simple solution for people who are against same sex marriage: what they should do is not marry someone of the same sex.

    The second they try to impose their worldview on somebody else’s personal life, as far as I’m concerned, it’s open season. I have respect for their right to think gays are unequal. But I have no respect for their right to force gays to remain unequal.


    Did you know that Jerry Brown had to abandon a planning commission appointee because he was anti-choice and pro-2nd ammendment? And guess what, Tammerlin, Chip and Byron didn’t go nuts then.


    Also, I want to add that of all three editorialists that took the wrong side on this issue, I want to call out Byron Williams and cut him some slack. Why? Because he has a Blog and was willing to engage me in a direct debate on this. Check it out:

    Chip and Tammerlin, on the other hand, are old-media cowards. They wrote their pieces and walked away, refusing to debate their detractors directly.

    Tammerlin in particular chose to use her privileged position as a print journalist to wantonly skew the odds in her favor. Robert Gammon called her out by name in the East Bay Express, and linked to her piece. She refers to Gammon’s piece only as “the local weekly”. I’m guessing that she doesn’t want people to see Bob’s piece because he wrote a more concise argument, with no doublespeak, and he totally schooled her on the meaning of free speech.

    This “Intolerance” argument is insane. I call for one man to be removed from a community board. Lorenzo Hoopes spends a modest man’s annual salary on a campaign to keep millions of people from marrying the ones they love… in what bizarro parallel universe did I become the bad guy?


    Lastly, I want to point out that no prominent figure in Oakand has come forward and said “I was for prop 8, leave Lorenzo alone”. To me, that’s something of a victory in and of itself. One of the milestones in the fight for equality is when members of polite society become uncomfortable publicly advocating for inequality. The war ain’t over, but it’s a start.

    Oh, one more thing: Len mentioned Clinton Killian being in an uncomfortable position. I understand that members of the Paramount Board have been lobbying to keep Hoopes, but only behind the scenes. I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly dare Clinton Killian and the rest of the Paramount Board to come forward and rationalize Lorenzo Hoopes’ actions. If he’s good enough to defend secretly, shouldn’t he be good enough to defend publicly?

    Well Clinton? Want to step up to the plate and take a side on this, in public? I double dog dare ya…

    When Max first tried to post this comment, it got caught in the spam filter, and I only saw it to approve just now. So if it appears somewhat out of context, that’s why. – V

  11. Naomi Schiff

    Ralph, no.
    As stated before elsewhere, Mr. Hoopes is not the best nominee for a position on the board. He made himself a liability to the institution with his large contribution to Prop 8. He sought to limit rights for part of the population that the Paramount serves, and this will make it hard for him to carry out his responsibility as a boardmember. He puts the Paramount in a tough position. He should step back.

    When I sit on a board I do think about the consequences of my other actions for the image and activities of the organization. It is only responsible to do so.

    Practically speaking, it is not a question of his personal opinion. He is entitled to think and say what he wants. It is a question of his actions.

    These columnists and editorial people seem to suffer from a shortage of logical thought. If a person has thrown big bucks to a measure likely to enrage some of your target audience, why put him or her on the board of directors?

    As also stated by others, the Paramount should contemplate some form of term limits, for the good of the organization. If they are afraid of running out of boardmember candidates, they can always allow people to serve again once they have sat out for a term. But surely fresh nominees once in a while would be a good idea, if nothing else, to ensure a strong succession to a new generation.

  12. Max Allstadt

    All Oakland boards should have term limits. Especially the ones who fill vacancies by a vote of the existing board members. Incestuous insular in-group inertia is icky.

  13. Ralph

    Naomi, it could also be said that the shortage of logical thought is also shared by many on this forum. I am also no fan of this name calling tactic. Every time an African-American calls a cop racist it loses some of the sting. Your side calls a man a homophobe and bigot without regard to the total person, I am not going to listen.

    Please direct me to the evidence that he has been bad for board because of his views.The Board gave him unanimous support. So they are they wrong either for ignoring his support of Prop 8 or for considering and deciding it didn’t matter. It would seem to me you can’t target Hoopes without targeting the lot.

    All that beind said, I would argue that his three decades on the Board is too long. My schools had a policy of removing headmaster after an extended period because you lose some freshness and perspective. You get insulated. If anything, we need to have Board reform for which term limits should be applied, we should look for skills that will enhance and complement the Board, and we should not apply litmus test.

  14. Max Allstadt


    The Board may have given him unanimous support, but that board, like many others in Oakland has been habitually re-electing itself for years.

    What the Board didn’t do was this: Not a single member of that board has come out in public and attempted to explain that Hoopes’ stance on Prop 8 is no big deal. I’d love to hear from them. I want to know which of them are prepared, in the midst of this controversy, to put their own names on the line in a public forum, and debate the merits of Hoopes’ reappointment.

    I don’t think they will. And if they won’t put their own asses on the line, I don’t think they’ve given Hoopes enough support to be taken seriously.

    Clinton Killian, are you reading this? If so, I’d like to formally double-dog-dare you to become part of this conversation.

  15. Livegreen

    Max, Please explain the purpose of daring other Board members?
    BTW, There are term limits on City Oversight Committees. A couple years ago members of the CPAB had to resign when Sanjiv sued the City. I’m curious why it’s not that way for the Paramount, Fox, etc.

  16. Max Allstadt

    The purpose is to show that we have created a climate in Oakland where being an apologist for homophobia is risky business.

    The whole point of demanding Hoopes’ removal from the Board is much bigger than people seem to grasp.

    There are milestones in the defeat of bigotry against any particular group. One of these milestones is when we create an environment where members of mainstream society are afraid to admit outright bias against that group. Many American ethnic and racial minority groups have managed to achieve this milestone in the national culture.

    However, there is still a lot of regional variation in what level of public bias one can express against the LGBT community. I’m calling out the Board members to come forward because I want to prove that if they engage in a conversation where they engage us and act as apologists for Hoopes’ behavior, they have a lot to lose.

    And that’s how it ought to be.

  17. Ralph

    To be clear, I do not disagree that there are problems with the Boards but that is a separate process issue. The Board in forwarding their nomination to the Mayor has already made a public statement.

    But given the reason against Hoopes’ reappointment, does it really matter what the Killian or any other member says. No. You have based your argument on giving 26K to Yes on 8.

    If Member X says Hoopes has done X, Y, and Z to advance the cause of Arts in Oakland, you will still say Hoopes gave $26K to Yes on 8. But now you have a fellow board member who has said Hoopes is good but Member X didn’t give 26K to Yes on 8. Your justification to get rid of Hoopes was based on 26K but now you have a member who voted no on 8, gave no money to No on 8 and supports a man who voted for and financially supported Yes on 8. Now what do you do?

    Now suppose Member X makes a statement that I can not support this person. Nothing, other than the outpouring of hate has changed since the initially support. So now, you have a member who can be easily influenced.

    Either way there seems to be a problem with Member X.

    It isn’t about Hoopes; it is about reform.

  18. Just Askin'

    Is everyone who voted in favor of Prop. 8 a bigot? What if a Paramount board member (or any Oakland board member) voted for Prop 8, even though they did not give money; are they all bigots and unfit to serve? What about City of Oakland employees?

  19. Ralph

    As a side note, shaming people and daring them is probably not a good tactic. This is why decent people don’t want to enter public life.

    I’d like to defeat the bigots so entrenched in their own position that they ignore any and all opposing viewpoints. But the thing about bigots they are entrenched so it would be like beating my head against a brick wall. And that just doesn’t seem like a good use of my time.

    And for the record, I hate the word tolerate in this usage.

  20. Max Allstadt

    @Just Askin’:

    I wouldn’t vote for anyone who supported prop. 8. I would protest any board appointee who publicly supported prop. 8.

    And Ralph,

    Let me be clear, the way it works is, I think they’re unfit, so I say they’re unfit. You disagree, so you say so. We all make a lot of noise, and whoever makes the best argument and reaches the most people and gets the council’s attention, wins. That’s the marketplace of ideas that Bob Gammon is talking about in the issue of the East Bay Express that you can pick up tomorrow.

    @Mary Hollis:

    No, I don’t believe that someone reasonable can take the other side on Prop 8. The only reasonable course of action for someone who doesn’t believe in gay marriage is for that person to not marry someone of the same sex.

    The second they try to block two other people from loving eachother on their own terms, as far as I’m concerned, it’s open season.

  21. Just Askin'

    Interesting. How about this: what if someone, such as Doug Boxer, a well known and prominent local and planning commissioner; what if he supported the Hoopes nomination? What if Mr. Boxer didn’t think Hoopes’ Prop. 8 position was enough to keep him off the board and that Hoopes’ should stay? Would this make Mr. Boxer unfit to serve?

  22. jack b dazzle

    Are over half the people in CA bigots? Wouldn’t this make the President a Bigot too? Can’t this be about what is best for Oakland and the Paramount?

    If Oakland is going to survive as a city we all want to live in, we have to start picking our representatives based on their competency and not on their politics. This is bigger than the Paramount. No one competent is going to run for office in Oakland with all of this “hate”. Haven’t we done enough damage to Oakland by picking people based on their political correctness?

    Personally, I don’t think that Hoopes is best for the Paramount, and that has nothing to do with his, or my stance on Prop 8.

  23. n

    I suspect that the president is more of a spineless politician than bigot, but who knows.

    Gay rights != Political Correctness.

    I personally know several gay couples that live in Oakland, who would marry if allowed. These selfless people donate large amounts of their time to programs that directly benefit Oakland. Such as development and crime prevention programs. Do we want to drive them away to more tolerant communities?

    Why should we promote someone with a bigoted view who has politically supported that view? Doing so could add misguided credibility of that view. Whether it’s Prop 8 or Jim Crow, which a large portion of voters supported in it’s time, bigotry of any type is anathema and so are those that support it.

  24. Naomi Schiff

    Ralph snuck in a nice semantic point, up there.

    “Tolerance” implies that one tolerates something bad, unpleasant or nasty. It implies a negative situation. I think it is unfortunate that it has become shorthand for “Can’t we all just get along?”
    There are more positive formulations that express a more positive societal relationship.

  25. Ralph

    No Max, that is not how it works….We all make a lot of noise, some of us even include solid arguments, and whoever makes the loudest NOISE and reaches the most people and gets the council’s attention, wins. The M2O “compromise” is a good example.

  26. Ralph

    Max, is that a generic “You” or are you referring to me? If you read everything I have written, you will notice that I never made a case for Mr. Hoopes or any of the other Board members being fit to serve.

  27. Livegreen

    As I stated I agree with the anti-Hoopes effort because he actively campaigned & contributing to limiting he Civil Rights of the LGBT community. Also because I believe marriage is a good thing (for many anyway). But I do not agree either with it being a litmus test for all Oakland volunteers and commission members OR for blaming other Paramount Board members who supported Mr. Hoopes for services to the Paramount.

    Max, Blaming these other Board Members, even those who agree with u on Prop 8, because they supported Mr. Hoopes for his contributions to the Paramount, is guilt by association. That is going too far. Paramount Board Members have a responsibility also to the Paramount, and IF that is the basis for their complements of Mr. Hoopes it has NOTHING to do with Prop. 8.

  28. Mary Hollis

    Even as someone who supports same-sex marriage and voted No on 8, I have to lament the implications by some that holding a different view somehow renders a person unfit to stand for office, or even unfit to be regarded with respect.

    Over half of Californians supported Prop 8. Many did so not out of bigotry but for sincere, heartfelt, religious views on what marriage should and should not be. I can disagree with them without deeming them bad, bigoted or unfit for duty.

    To assume that one side is “right” here and the other side is “evil” is overly presumptive and narrow-minded, and begs the very question at issue. It is OK to have genuine differences of opinion on this. Historically gays have not been able to marry and now we are considering whether they should. The people are entitled to have a say on that, even if ultimately it is a matter of constitutional law rather than popular will.

    Having said all that, this is not the place for a long debate on same sex marriage. So I will end with three quotes that plea for tolerance:

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. – Voltaire.

    “We have to learn to disagree without being disagreeable” – MLK.

    “No laws have any validity or binding force without the consent and approbation of the people” – Hamilton.

  29. Max Allstadt

    The point, Livegreen, is about inertia and incestuous promotion on our Boards.

    Every board that fills vacancies by a vote of the board is prone to perpetually reinstating existing board members. I was appealing to the paramount board to grow a pair and distance itself from that incestuousness.

    I also don’t expect the board members to come out and publicly discuss their support for Hoopes. I was issuing the dare to highlight that they wont do that. By extension, if all they’re willing to do is use back channels, if they won’t stand up and go public, to me that indicates that they don’t actually care that much about Hoopes.

    Until members of the Paramount Board go public and are willing to speak in council chambers or engage on a blog about this issue, I think we can discount their support for Hoopes as habit, and as interpersonal politeness to Hoopes. In an ideological debate, neither of those count in my book.

  30. Ralph

    LG, say you go pick up your friend Lomix, he asks you to stop in the corny packy. while inside he jacks them for $1500 and kills the owner. e jumps back in the car and tells you to go. Five minutes later, you are pulled over and arrested. You left the house thinking you were going to movie, but Lomix was short pocket change and got it the easiest way he knew. Now you are both going to county. Guilt by association.

    As noted above, I agree you can’t condemn one and not the lot. But if the Board thinks Hoopes provides complementary skills and you think he is unfit to serve because of his support for 8, then that my friends is what we call a litmus test.

  31. Max Allstadt

    @Mary Hollis,

    California is the only state in the union that allows the people to amend the constitution by simple majority, and also disallows the legislature the ability to adjust those amendments.

    Prop 8 taught us that tyranny of the bare majority over people’s personal lives is possible under such a system. This system brought us Prop 8. And Prop 13. Another ballot measure made graffiti over $300 an automatic felony. Another made it so that the Governor had to approve every parole board decision in the state, leading to an 80% reduction in parole.

    So fuck the system. A system that allows a bare majority to institutionalize inequality for a disfavored minority must be fought. Institutionalized inequality must be fought. Hoopes fought FOR institutionalized inequality. He’s got to go.

    And citing religion doesn’t excuse a deplorable belief. We don’t have to respect a belief that gays are unequal just because it’s source is religion. If pseudoscience tells you gays are unequal, you’re wrong. If your gut tells you gays are unequal, you’re wrong. If cookie monster comes to you and a dream and tells you gays are unequal, you’re wrong. The belief gets no free pass just because somebody cites God as a source.

    “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.” Coretta Scott King

  32. Max Allstadt

    Ralph, please keep making insanely inappropriate comparisons. You’re helping me. I appreciate it.

  33. Ralph

    Max, I am not even sure you are reading what i write let alone understand my position. You are working off the deepend with your language and lack of respect for opposing viewpoints. I am fairly convinced your live to praise yourself and holier than thou life. If one does not live by the laws of Max one is dirt and evil. You are crazy.

  34. Livegreen

    Max, Respectfully, how the Board Members think Mr. Hoopes has done for the Paramount is a selerately issue from Mr. Hoopes actions on Prop 8. You’re daring them to come and defend him now is in the context of Prop.8, as you say “The purpose is to show that we have created a climate in Oakland where being an apologist for homophobia is risky business.”

    They aren’t being apologists for homophobia & to my knowldege haven’t made any comments on that issue. Attacking the other board members for their support for him for his contributions to the Paramount are two different subjects, is guilt by association, and is going too far.

    Ralph, Your example is off because in this case the Board members are not in the car (Prop. 8), but met the perp somewhere else to have coffee.

  35. Ralph

    then change it to say he harbored a fugitive, either way he is guilty and they are going to county. the point i made early re Max’s desire to call out the board is pointless. whether the board supports him or doesn’t support him, you are still going to end up condemning the lot, which is what should happen.

  36. Livegreen

    Nope, over Prop 8 they’re having coffee. The problems of the board re. Appointments, time frame etc. is a seperate issue I agree with u on,, and that’s not where Max started off (see my Max quote above).

  37. Ralph

    No they are having more than coffee. I would like to know why Max is civil with Byron and downright hostile here.

    Fifteen years from now when Oakland is pro-life, what happens when someone nominates a pro-choice member to a board. Having set a precedent here, the pro-lifers will have a strong case to block the nomination.

  38. David

    I shall posit 3 things:

    1) One can oppose gay marriage and not be a “homophobe.” I don’t care if gays have civil unions etc; I dislike intensely the destruction (and it is destruction; it strips the entire word and institution of its original meaning and intent) of a millenia-old institution. I can also oppose polygamy and not be an “Islamophobe” or a FLDS-phobe. I believe that polygamy is detrimental to society; I believe that further diminution of the nuclear family is detrimental to society. Witness what has happened in black America as the family has broken down.

    2) As pointed out above, it’s not “stripping” gays of any civil rights; they never had such a right. The comparisons to blacks, interracial marriage etc is both insulting and invidious. Although it’s humorous to some of us that white liberals have such a fit when we “go off the reservation” and support something “conservative.”

    3) His support or opposition of a proposition that has nothing to do with his job is, obviously, irrelevant to his performance on the job. If he is incompetent, or just of middling performance, replace him. He is not “representing” any of us in reality; he represents the non-profit Paramount, and has a fiduciary duty to that non-profit entity, not to Oakland voters or their cherished liberal fantasies.

  39. MarleenLee

    David – I used to find the semantic argument more persuasive, before I actually got married (with no intention to procreate, by the way), and I now more fully understand the difference between actually being married and just having a “civil union.”

    The whole “one man, one woman” historical definition doesn’t hold up when you just look at the Bible, where polygamy was popular. And just because we’ve always done things a certain way, doesn’t make it right, or better. Would you rather go back to the good old days when women couldn’t vote? And if we’re going to stick with literal definitions, the whole “all men are created equal” would leave us women out in the cold. Are you for that too? And marriage is supposed to be a lifetime commitment, but we all know that in 50% of cases, it’s not, so again, the whole literal, strict constructionist arguments are not persuasive. I don’t think there is any credible evidence that permitting gay marriage will cause the “destruction of a millenia-old institution.” But I guess there’s a trial going on at the moment on that issue, so I’ll wait for the formal verdict on that.

  40. Ralph

    what is that actual difference between M and CU? I have neither and don’t see myself on that path for the next 40 to 58 years.

  41. David

    I guarantee you, that, should gay “marriage” become legal, the lawsuits will start regarding polygamy. Fundamentally, changing the definition of the term, destroys that term.

    The “one man, one woman” covers the old-fashioned “Christendom” for 2,000 years or so. Even Roman society was mostly monogamous (as was Chinese, except for the rulers, but there are several emperors who only took one wife). Societies that aren’t are backward (Muslim world, most of Africa). Sorry, but it’s true. Old-fashioned nuclear families and property rights are fundamental to advanced/advancing societies. Conversely, destroying the value of the institution leads to societal dysfunction as we see both here and abroad.

    You can believe all you want. I believe in what I stated, and I have a few thousand years of history and current experience on my side. Interesting you’re not procreating. The future belongs to those who bother to show up.

  42. Ralph

    This really isn’t relevant but I am not sure why one would need to be married to get those 3 stmts. I don’t get why you need a marriage to more fully understand those differences. I mean I am not married and I get that; I thought you were talking about some deeper stuff, higher plane kinda stuff.

    not sure how the union of 2 same gender people who love each other, are commited to each other destroy the union of 2 diff gender people entered into an equal union but that is me. they can still give love to a child who needs love. what destroys marriage are 2 people who treat their vows like toilet paper.

  43. Colin

    So if he’s not reappointed to the board, how is that a victory for marriage equality? Will he stop supporting his view? Will Oakland somehow become homophobic if he’s elected to the board?

    I do think petty is the right word for the fight to stop him from working on a board for a non-profit. This isn’t where the fight is, it’s entirely extraneous to the real issues at hand. I can understand people being angry about him being rich and spending this as he chooses, but the fight needs to be over the law of the land, not some non-profit board appointment. If you disagree with his politics, defeat his politics.

    Max, I wouldn’t be so quick to declare “open season” on the majority of Californians. I think their views are wrong, but the solution to that is to change their minds, not to damn or punish them for their views. I don’t like righteousness and I think “by any means necessary” is way too extreme of a stance to take here.

    I also find the broad civil rights comparisons ridiculous. While this is a civil rights issue, it isn’t all of them rolled into one. Gay people in the bay area are treated as normal citizens, not as pariahs. This is not segregation being overthrown, this is the right to marry. I don’t mean to suggest it isn’t important, but let’s be realistic. Homosexuality is still legal.

    If Prop 8 said it was a misdemeanor to murder a gay person then this sort of hysteria would be justified. But it didn’t. It changed the legal status of gay partnerships. It’s a dumb law and it will be defeated in the long run. When that happens, do you really want those who disagree with you to be declaring “open season” on you? Because open season means more than I think you think it does.

    The only relevant question is does he do this job well, and I don’t know enough about it to answer that question. His colleagues seem to think so, and I trust them more than I do anybody here.

  44. Chris Kidd

    The difference between M and CU? I look at it much in the way that Brown vs. Board of Education was argued. Sure, racially segregated schools were supposed to be “equal”, but everyone knew who was getting priority. The only reason to deny marriage to one group is to show preference to the group that is allowed it.

  45. MarleenLee

    Ralph – I never said anybody needs to be married to understand the importance of marriage. I was speaking from a personal perspective, i.e. that after I got married myself, I could understand better the meaning and importance of the institution. Colin – in the Bay Area, most gays are treated as normal people, for the most part – except that they’re not allowed to get married! And some are still treated as pariahs, unfortunately.

  46. Ralph

    ML, it was the personal perspective that I really wanted you to answer. Those 3 statements didn’t speak to me as being personal. The stmts I knew it was the personal I didn’t.

    This does make we wonder, when states across the union go crazy for civil unions, why do pro-gay marriage get happy when it is an unequal substitute?

  47. MarleenLee

    Here’s an excerpt from the link I posted above: “In an interview with, Paul Cates of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project at the American Civil Liberties Union stressed the cultural significance of marriage: “You’re not a little kid dreaming about your civil union day. It’s your wedding day.” When you want to commit to a partner, “you’re not really thinking about the [legal] protections,” he says. “It’s the significance and what it means to be married and hold yourself out as married.”

  48. Russell Spitzer

    Is it just me or is it hilarious when people say

    “I support prop 8 but I’m not homophobic.” and the follow it with something like “I just don’t want them poisoning marriage with their homosexuality.”

    Although anyone who just calls different cultures “Backwards” probably doesn’t think they are racist either :)

  49. Livegreen

    David, I have to agree with Ralph, I was expecting something a little deeper, not a historical synopsis of how marriage is the center of all non-”backwards” civilizations.
    And you still haven’t explained how it “strips” the definition of marriage.

    Regardless of how long marriage has existed, or how it is defined, definitions change over time. Without getting into your simplified views of other cultures and civilizations, regardless of it’s historical cultural and religious heritage, marriage today is civil. As such it has already evolved from it’s religious heritage and is now up to the constitution to define. (& Im sure some would argue that monogomy might even predate religion).

    The G&L families I see at our local school are as well equipped to be married and parents as mixed sex couples. They contribute to our school and neighborhood. Any damage done to marriage has been amply done by traditional couples on their own and started well before gay marriage ever emerged as an issue.

  50. Ralph

    Don’t know if a clarification is necessary, but my deeper was for ML. I don’t agree with David’s take on marriage, but it’s all kool and the gang.

  51. David

    Russ, certain cultures believe that if they pray to a cargo container, more cargo will come (Polynesian cargo cults after WWII). Some cultures believe that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. Some cultures believe that when a woman is widowed, she should be burned to death after her husband’s death. Some cultures believe that it’s ok to cut off a girl’s clitoris. Some cultures have arguments over just how often and hard you’re allowed to beat your wife. Some cultures still allow slavery. Are these cultures backward? Hell yes. And I’ll say it every day. Do you really believe that all cultures are “equal”? They’re not.

    People who make statements like your also tend to be the same ones who denigrate “rednecks” who don’t believe in evolution. So, tell me, is the creationist culture backwards? Are you racist against rednecks, or do you think they’re just backwards?

    LG. I’d expect something a little deeper, rather than just a bland statement that ‘cultures change.’ Give me a break. Simplified historical examples? Ok, so give me an example a great, advanced civilization that devalued the nuclear family and survived much longer. Or an advanced civilization that advanced through a few centuries with a devalued nuclear family. Why don’t you tell how changing the meaning of the word keeps the same value? I’ll change the definition of “shit” to “shoe polish.” What are you going to use on your boots?

    Yes, marriage & the nuclear family are special. Yes, they are superior to other arrangements (including divorced/remarried parents etc) in raising children. Reams of research support this. Like it or not, the best arrangement for raising children should be encouraged if you want your society to survive. sorry, I can’t get any deeper than maintaining an advanced civilization as a rationale.

  52. MarleenLee

    David, you just defeated your own argument. Marriage is “special.” It is not the same as “just living together.” Being married is better for kids. So let gay people get married – it’s better for society because it encourages the cohesiveness of the family.

  53. livegreen

    David, I didn’t say “cultures change” so don’t misquote me. I said “definitions change” and I gave the specific example of Marriage now being a civil institution. NOT just a religious one. And if you’re stuck on that you should take it up with the founding fathers.

    Regarding civilizations, of course simplified. Even if we agreed how could you not call summarizing world history in 1 paragraph simplified? And I never said anything about divorced/remarried parents are not the best for children. So don’t channel somebody else’s opinions onto mine and then pretend they represent me. Stick to the questions I asked instead of making up ones I didn’t:

    Again, how is Gay Marriage devaluing marriage? And to revise my question to fit your revised phrases, how is a Gay Family, with a committed couple & children, any different than any other type of “nuclear family”?

    If you can answer the question without getting rude and cussing, that would show a minimal decorum and ability to discuss and share ideas.

  54. livegreen

    ML, Exactly. Even David Brooks supports David’s call for a nuclear family by also supporting Gay Marriage.

  55. Ralph

    i still do not see where David cussed. but hey if you didn’t see Max’s, i am cool with saying i did not see David’s.

    i am not cool with Naomi disregarding Max’s language as she has been quick to call out people who have used salty language. i have only noticed it when she disagrees with a poster’s position.

  56. David

    Ah, no I didn’t. Marriage, and the nuclear family as defined throughout history as one father, one mother and children are optimal for raising children.

    To reiterate, reams of research indicate that one father, one mother joined in the act of raising children through adulthood produces, in aggregate, the highest-quality/best-adjusted adults–as in least likely to be criminal, most likely to have jobs, least likely to be junkies, etc. Marriage today is civil, sure. So what? It’s in the best interests of society to maintain the traditional, nuclear family definition of marriage. Period.

    “Gay” marriage devalues marriage by CHANGING the definition. I devalue “shoe polish” by calling it “shit.” And by the way, that’s not a curse. You want semantics, look up what “cursing” means. The Fed devalued the dollar by CHANGING what defined the “dollar.” Is that so hard to understand? It’s like when everyone’s a winner, no one is.

  57. Ralph

    David thanks for clearing that up. Sometimes things around here go a little unchecked re what people wrote and did not write. I really thought I was going blind. Glad you set the record straight

  58. David

    Again, if it’s just a civil matter, and it’s unconstitutional to deny anyone the right to get married, I have to ask why polygamy would remain unlawful.

    I guarantee you, that if we begin to change the definition of marriage, there will be a lawsuit by a polygamist. And what about his civil rights argument if it is a tenet of his religion, like Islam or FLDS.

    Why can’t consenting adults get married in an incestuous relationship? What about their civil rights?

  59. n

    David, please elaborate on “the nuclear family as defined throughout history”. A few examples please.

  60. David

    n, I posted above. Romans were largely monogamous, and respected marriage as an institution. So did ancient China. Incas. “Christendom” for 2 millenia. A nuclear family was a married man & woman with children.

    n, show me an advanced society with widespread (not just the rulers) polygamy, gay marriage, etc etc.

  61. Patrick

    The Tenth Commandment, appears twice in the Bible, the “living word of God”. From the New Revised Standard Version:

    Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

    and from Deuteronomy 5:21 “Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor’s house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

    I think that it should be fairly clear that “historically”, the definition of “marriage” was that of ownership of a female by a male. Spin that one.

    Traditionally, marriage was yes, a way to procreate. But the concept of marriage for love and union is relatively recent. Historically, men married for a built-in housekeeper, power and/or or money. The concept of marriage as we see it today, for “love” and to procreate, is a product of the 1950s. Prior to that, more children meant more people to work for free on the farm.

  62. Livegreen

    David, First, marriage IS a civil matter, everyone goes to get their marriage licenseat City Hall or the municiply designated location, so I don’t know why you say “if”. If you want a church marriage you can get that too.

    Secondly, Wikipedia defines nuclear family alternatively as a man, a woman and children, and two parents and children. You can see the definition changing before your eyes.

    Linguistically changes in definition are quite common, and is a reason why there are many different languages in the world that have the same roots. The same is true for the definitions behind them.

    Third, the examples you gave of the failures of non-nuclear families were examples of failures in traditional marriages. (I agree with you for the most part that an intact family is healthier and more successful). It is a false premise to then apply these broken families to intact gay families. If his is your premise then at least show an example of how they were included in the study.

    Every day at our school I see intact gay families who are wonderful parents and who contribute positively to the school, the neighborhood, and to the City.

    If you and Max want to pick opposite sides of an argument and use it to rag on those you disagree with and tear the City apart on one issue, shame on you. In the meantime people of different personal opinions and experiences are movig past that and contributing positively to make Oakland, it’s schools and it’s neighborhoods a better place. These experiences on the ground show me in spades that you are simply wrong.

    PS. Wikipedia says the emergence of the nuclear family happened in the 17th Century.

  63. Patrick

    From Wikipedia (footnotes left out) “Three recent studies in the United States, using nationally representative samples, have found that about 10–15% of women and 20–25% of men *admitted* (emphasis added) to having engaged in extramarital sex.” Is that, then, part of the definition of marriage? Or perhaps we should remove their right to be married as well?

  64. Max Allstadt

    Patrick, if you’re going to throw out biblical quotes, how about you also throw out the passage from Deuteronomy that advocates killing people for being gay. Or the passage from the same book that says that disrespecting ones parents is grounds for execution… Or the passage that says that shellfish is an abomination…

    Those examples, by themselves, should be enough to show that the bible is not a reasonable source for modern governance.

  65. Patrick

    Matthew 19:6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

    Matthew 19:9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

    Currently, 50% of all first marriages, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages end in divorce ( and “the Divorce rates among conservative Christians were significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics experience” (Barna Research Group study as quoted on Discuss, please, putting all of this in historical context. Also, please tell me again how allowing homosexuals to marry devalues the institution of marriage? Heterosexuals certainly need no help in that department.

  66. Daniel Schulman

    I sit on a city of Oakland Board. In many respects, I’m glad I did not come under the type of scrutiny that now surrounds Lorenzo Hoopes’ re-appointment. At the same time, though, I feel the questions raised about Hoopes’ fitness to serve by Sean Sullivan, V. Smoothe, and others is completely warranted.

    @Just Askin’ asks “Is everyone who voted in favor of Prop. 8 a bigot? What if a Paramount board member (or any Oakland board member) voted for Prop 8, even though they did not give money; are they all bigots and unfit to serve?”

    @n relied correctly “Yes.”

    How can this be? Doesn’t this seem like a completely intolerant position? @MarleenLee answers this point — “If the issue were abortion rights, the death penalty, or any other controversial issue over which reasonable minds could differ, I would agree with Chip, Tammerlin et al.”

    So what’s the difference between gay marriage and say stance on the death penalty? Well being gay is not based on a person’s choice, or actions, or political philosophy but is an innate characteristic. By and large, being gay is just like being black, or being a man, or being left-handed. Denying human and civil rights to someone who is gay is the same as racism, sexism, ageism, or left-handedism.

    Unless you are comfortable with Nazi’s, Klan members, and sexist pigs holding public office and being appointed to civic boards, you should not be comfortable with Lorenzo Hoopes be re-appointed to the Paramount’s Board.

    Many people prior to me have written powerful comments against Hoopes re-appointment, I’d like to finish by quoting one of the early ones, @Bruce Nye succinctly wrote “more power to the activists, gay and straight, who remind those in government that it is no more ok to discriminate on the basis of sexual preference than it is to discriminate on the basis of race.”

  67. Tab

    David: Your theories correlating family structure to “backwardness” provide not one bit iota of causality. Add your procreation imperative, and you’re heading into seriously creepy territory.

    Max: We’re right in the middle of what will be an irrevocable shift to equality on gay rights. Minds are changing and generational demographics are on our side. But we’re in the middle…historically speaking, it’s a bad moment time to sit in scathingly harsh judgment.

  68. Max Allstadt


    When Francisco Franco was dying a slow and horrible death, Chevy Chase got on SNL’s fake news and mocked Franco, cause he deserved it.

    When George Wallace ran for President, Chevy Chase told wheelchair jokes at Wallace’s expense, ’cause Wallace, having attempted to use violent cops to stop desegregation, deserved it.

    Somebody’s gotta be the first to be mean to the meanies. I’m always going to be the one to jump in and not hold my tongue.

    But as far as cooler heads go, Dan’s right. Bruce Nye said it best all the way at the top of this thread. And Bruce had the stripes to be taken very seriously on this.

  69. Jenn

    The “traditional” definition of marriage has changed over the centuries. Wives are not chattel to their husbands. Wives don’t need their husbands permission for credit or to open a bank account. Wives can keep their maiden names or take it back when the divorce. To say that the definition of marriage between a man and a woman hasn’t changed over the centuries/decades is to be blind to fact. I’m sort of mind-boggled by some of the absolute denial of history in some of these comments. And I know tons of gay/lesbian couples who have been in their partnerships much longer than my parents were in their marriage. That’s stability. And marriage does matter — all the legal documents in the world don’t matter in Florida, or Portland, OR, where in recent months a lesbian couple and gay couple respectively were denied the ability to see their partners in the hospital because they weren’t married. In Florida the woman died alone in the hospital because her partner of decades was denied the ability to be in the room and hold her. And they had all the legal documentation they were told they’d need to be treated “legally” like they were married. Marriage confers legal rights in this country that are undeniable. That’s why all people should have the right to marry the person they choose to partner with in life.

  70. len raphael

    When the no on 8 campaign workers covered temescal a few days or so before the election, i wondered why were they wasting resources in friendly territory instead of in east and west oakland where they had people who needed convincing.

    Fast forward and it seems that the exit poll surveys overstated the support of black and latino voters, and much of those votes correlated more closely with the higher religiousity of black and latino voters.

    but still seems something in the neighborhood of 59% blacks and 65% latinos opposed gay marriage when they left the polls.

    if those groups had voted no in the same proportion as their white counterparts, would 8 have failed?

    Maybe just Bay Area columnists, but maybe there is an irritation verging on anger among a cross section of blacks over all the money and energy devoted to gay rights when by measures of tangible material damage, gays suffered mostly personal anguish not economic, life shortening pain from their unequal treatment by the ruling majority.

    On the litmus test issue, we should ask candidates for elective office any personal, political, medical, religious questions we want and judge them by their responses. I don’t think we have a right to ask private individuals (without public supported political power) any of the above for any reasons (well maybe medical). People in between like judges, i tend to treat like private citizens. If i overhear someone stating how they voted etc, as much as i’d like to hit them on the head sometimes, it’s their privileged info. People who volunteer their time and or money to community organizations, I would treat like any other private citizen.

  71. Ralph

    i suspect i am not alone here, being BLACK and being gay are not the same thing. To praphrase my friends Jules and Vincent

    J: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa… stop right there. Being black, and being gay ain’t even the same fuckin’ thing.
    V: It’s not. It’s the same ballpark.
    J: Ain’t no fuckin’ ballpark neither.

    @Dan: Nazi, Klan compare offbase. Mr. Hoopes will gladly have any gay in The Paramount; Mr. Duke wants my black butt hanging from a tree and very much dead

    @Max: I suspect there are some Jewish individuals who keep Kosher that disagree with you

  72. Daniel Schulman

    @Ralph – of course being black and being gay are not the same thing – if they were, we wouldn’t have different words for them ;) Let’s elevate the discussion a little bit and recognize that being black and being gay are different in some ways and the same in others.

    Even in your glibness you highlight one of the strongest similarities, because right next to your black ass, Mr Duke and his buddies would like to see some gays swinging by their necks. Please explain the differences between the heinous murder of Matthew Shepard and the lynching of a black man.

    As I wrote above, in my mind, what makes the pro 8 folks the same as Nazis (I’ll say neo-Nazi or white separatists if it makes you feel better) and the Klan is that they discriminate against classes of people based on innate characteristics. While I am certainly not a fan of antisemitism (my Jew ass would also be hanging from Mr. Duke’s tree), I purposely did not include in my litany of intolerable ‘isms (heterosexualism, ageism, racism, sexism, left-handedism, etc.).

    Where being black and being gay most notably part ways, is that with a few exceptions, gays have to self-identify to be seen by society as part of the discriminated group. This schism between being born LGBT and choosing to let people know underlies what infuriates me most about the Prop 8 supporters AND their apologists.

    The denial of marriage rights and the acceptance that it ok to deny marriage rights makes the coming out process so much more difficult. The anguish felt by our LGBT teens far too frequently leads to suicide attempts and suicide completions. While the haters might not be the ones who put the chain of a playground swing around a 14 year-olds’ neck, they help make it seem like there is no other option.

  73. David

    For some reason my comment wouldn’t post last night.

    1) Wow. You picked out Bible passages that don’t fit in modern society. You’re like, only the 2 billionth person to see that. You conveniently leave out Christianity’s abrogation of being bound by Mosaic law. (don’t have to be circumcised, keep kosher, etc). You also conveniently leave out another 2000 years of Talmudic discussion of marriage, why you essentially can’t stone anybody to death (the hurdle for evidence is so high as to render it nigh to impossible) etc. You really want to get into a theological discussion with me? You’ll lose. Trust me.

    2) So, some Christians can’t stay married. Some “Christians” also murder people. Shall we change the definition of murder?

    3) You’re confusing the definition of marriage as it has been held throughout the Western world for centuries (and most of China, Incan society, etc) and the traditional practices around marriage. This is like saying, because I don’t have a live Christmas tree, I don’t celebrate Christmas. Or more relevantly, because I don’t beat my wife, I’m not married. Give me a break.

    4) Wikipedia as a definitive source? Sweet Jesus. Look, if gays getting married wasn’t a huge change, would so many people care? You need to go to Wikipedia? Here’s a nickel, buy some common sense. This is like the SNL skit, “who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?”

    5) Nazis and Klansmen? Really, Godwin? That’s a winning argument? I’ll invite you to look up “ad hominem” as rhetorical failure.

    6) Black folks like me oppose gay marriage. Again, see above. It really chafes your white hide that we can hold “conservative” views, don’t it. Sorry massa, for thinking on my own. I guess that’s what happens when you get an education, work in the private sector, are a property owner and family man.

    7) I don’t care how many nice gay couples you know. It doesn’t matter. The plural of anecdote is not data. You’re proposing to change the definition of a 2000++ year old institution in order to satisfy your vanity. There are no good reasons to do so. You simultaneously argue that marriage is vital for gay rights and argue that heterosexuals have so devalued marriage that allowing gays to marry is no big deal. Which is it? Is marriage so special that gays just have to have it, or is it a wholly corrupted institution? It’s not a big deal, yet millions upon millions of people; the majority in several votes across the country and in this state took it upon themselves to vote against it, and gay activists take it upon themselves to run people out of jobs, out of their businesses. You claim I’m inconsistent. Look in the mirror. I’m consistent: Marriage is important, one look at the black community over the past 40 years should convince anyone of that, marriage between one man and one woman provides the best environment for children and should be promoted actively in order to keep society continuing, changing its definition degrades the word, the idea, the institution. This is common sense. I invite you sometime to read and contemplate the poem by Kipling, ‘the gods of the copybook headings.’ There are reasons traditions exist, throwing them away to satisfy your vanities because you don’t understand those reasons is folly. It’s also the height of hubris to think that your comments on the Bible, ancient traditions and the like have not been debated for thousands of years by folks a lot smarter than yourself. Maybe you should familiarize yourself with their arguments and conclusions.

  74. Max Allstadt


    You’re right, being black and being gay aren’t the same. Both are disadvantaged minorities, but both come with unique issues.

    If you’re Gay, some idiot might tell you that it was your personal choice to be gay. Nobody’s going to do that if you’re black.

    If you’re black, odds are that you’re at a bigger economic disadvantage than if you’re gay.

    If you’re gay, and you’re in the Arab world, there are laws that call for your execution.

    If you’re gay, people might not be able to tell that you’re gay just by looking, which is probably both and advantage and a disadvantage. The disadvantage is that it’s easier for bigots to spin homosexuality as something insidious. The advantage is that you can drive through the south (or piedmont) if you’re gay, and you won’t get pulled over for no reason.

    Oh, and if you’re black in America today, Lorenzo Hoopes isn’t trying to stop you from getting married.

    Ralph, your pulp fiction quote, in context, supports what Len says above:

    “Maybe just Bay Area columnists, but maybe there is an irritation verging on anger among a cross section of blacks over all the money and energy devoted to gay rights when by measures of tangible material damage, gays suffered mostly personal anguish not economic, life shortening pain from their unequal treatment by the ruling majority.”

    Quentin Tarantino isn’t siding with Jules when he writes that dialogue. He’s using Jules to personify and express what Len said. And frankly, I think suffering contests are stupid. We should be pushing for equality on all fronts, all the time.

  75. Max Allstadt


    Thank you for articulating a bunch of anti-gay cliches. Please feel free to add some “Adam and Steve” comments and other nonsense. It would be fantastic if you had more to say. I believe you’re hurting your cause, and I want your cause to be hurt. Go ahead, bring it.

  76. David

    Max, you may believe what you want. That’s the beauty of America. The majority has voted repeatedly in my favor. You offer no cogent arguments to the contrary, as with most people sharing your political views, you prefer to mount ad hominems. If you believe that the effective way to win people to your cause, many of whom are religious, is by insulting their religious beliefs (and often their intelligence), well, you have witnessed the results.

  77. Max Allstadt


    What Dan meant, as is clear from his post, is that being gay, black and left-handed are all innate. They aren’t choices. Some of the people who are apologizing for Hoopes don’t seem to get that.

    And back to your Jules and Vincent dialogue. The reason that’s so sad to me is that it represents a problem that hurts all minorities. The mentality of the suffering contest is divisive. It pits disadvantaged groups against each other, when the real struggle is against those members of the majority who think everyone everywhere should be like them.

  78. Daniel Schulman

    Ralph should I just repeat myself – “being black and being gay are different in some ways and the same in others.”

    Max pretty much said the exact same thing “Both are disadvantaged minorities, but both come with unique issues.”

    Come on Ralph, let’s elevate the discussion!

  79. Ralph

    Dan, you compared Mr. Hoopes to a Nazi or Klan member. As far as I know he isn’t. Suppose I oppose people to a board because they don’t support my brand of religion. You people are walking the slippery slope.

    Frankly, I think this brand of by any means necessary tactics is getting old. I am just thankful that my car is garaged and I don’t own a downtown business.

    Dan, Max check the mirror. Neither of you is BLACK. I tried to stay out of the black / gay discussion. But Dan you were the last straw; you made the stmt being gay is like being black. it is up there so don’t try to deny it.

  80. V Smoothe Post author

    What is getting old, Ralph, is your incessant, insanely repetitive comments. You have made your point. You need to start looking for other ways to express yourself besides hijacking my blog and leaving like 50 comments that say the exact same thing every day.

  81. Max Allstadt


    Remember to look at demographics about your majority. The older people get, the more they think gays are unequal. People in their 20s on the other hand, are quite unified in thinking that gays are entitled to equal rights. Based on who’s going to die first, the slim majority that passed prop 8 seems unlikely to hold.

    And what are the consequences for those who cling to bias in the face of imminent change? I can tell you from personal experience with my great uncle. He’s totally racist, but he’s 90. So what happens? His descendants end up whispering apologies for his hate speech to their friends. They say “well you know, it’s just how he grew up”. But it still leaves everybody in earshot embarrassed and uncomfortable.

    Based on verifiable demographic shifts, people with anti-gay sentiments can expect to find themselves in the same boat as my great uncle, and it will take less than a generation to get there.

    I suppose you could launch a campaign to teach the twentysomethings to be biassed like you, but I highly doubt it will work. Instead, I suggest that the only real choices you have are to get over your bias, or to accept that you’re destined to be an embarrassment to your own grandchildren.

    I have a 98 year old grandmother who made the right choices about bigotry. She was raised in a town in Texas which was so racist that she never heard any word other than the N-word for black people until she was 18 and left town. By the time she was in her 30s, she had pressured her husband to become one of the first while lawyers in town to defend black clients. When schools integrated, she had a hard time accepting it, but she did, because she knew it was the right thing.

    In November 2008, my little Gmommy walked to the polls in Santa Barbara and voted for Barack Obama and against Prop 8.

    My point? Being gay is innate. Being a bigot isn’t. Hate can be unlearned, and if it’s possible to do it, I say there’s a responsibility to do it. Hoopes didn’t meet his responsibility, and neither did my great uncle. I think it’s fair that they are culpable and accountable for this mistake.

  82. David

    Again, opposing gay marriage doesn’t make me a bigot. This another aspect of your losing argument. Comparing me to your racist relatives is not an effective argument. Sorry, it just isn’t.

    You claim in essence that it’s vital for gays to get married, something that they have never been able to do throughout recorded (and likely unrecorded) history. You claim that this will have no negative effects going forward. You call your opponents bigots, close-minded, and has-beens.

    On my side, there are reams of evidence that the traditional married couple with children is basically the bedrock of societies across time and geography. I question the utility of changing the definition of marriage to suit your vanities. I guarantee that the instant gay marriage is rammed through by the court, there will be lawsuits to get the government to recognize polygamy, and quite possibly adult, consenting incest. Marriage is NOT a fundamental human right; societies have had inputs and restrictions (some sensical, some not) on who can get married throughout recorded (and unrecorded) history. I don’t have the right to marry my adult cousin, I don’t have the right to marry 2 or 3 women at once.

    The truth doesn’t change. You might think I’ll be an embarrassment to my grandchildren; judging by the folks posting here, I’m the only one reasonably likely to have grandchildren. Just like attitudes on abortion (which are increasingly anti-), I think your assumption that “progress” only goes in one direction is unfounded. Again, the future belongs to those who bother to show up.

  83. V Smoothe Post author

    David, if you are going to insist on being a horrible, hateful bigot, at least try to get your facts straight. You do, in fact, currently have the right to marry your adult cousin.

  84. David

    V Smoothe, I didn’t realize California was so “progressive” on that front. The state I grew up in did not allow it. Throw in niece then. I don’t believe cousins should be allowed to get married. Am I bigoted against cousins? I enjoy your spite though. Very revealing.

    Marleen. You need to read a little.

    Like many Muslim men, Muhammad, an immigrant from Pakistan, first came to Norway alone. After building a career, he found a wife, a Norway citizen, and obtained citizenship himself. Soon enough, his astonished new bride learned that Muhammad was in the process of bringing his first wife to Norway, along with their nine children, all of whom were considered Norwegian citizens by law.

    “It’s a disaster. We don’t even have housing big enough for these people. We have to accept polygamy exists in other countries, but it is not recognized by French law, so I don’t see why we should accept it.” But British legislators have chosen to adopt a more liberal approach, and have already begun amending existing laws in an effort to accommodate the needs of the local Muslim population.

    “The Inland Revenue is considering recognizing polygamy for some religious groups for tax purposes.

    Muslims in Britain are to challenge UK law which forbids husbands from having more than one wife.

    They say they will refer Britain’s ban on polygamous marriage to the European Court of Human Rights this autumn.

    Canada, where I believe they allow gay marriage:

    OTTAWA — The Harper government is prepared to defend the constitutionality of Canada’s criminal ban against polygamy, arguing the practice represents a “clear challenge” to Canadian values, newly released federal documents show.

    The Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognizes religion as a “fundamental freedom.” Mr. Blackmore’s legal team has served notice that it will invoke the charter in much the same way that gay couples did in fighting to legalize same-sex marriage.

    So, why won’t it happen here? It’s happening in Canada, Europe etc?

    Again, I have evidence on my side, what do you have? Hopes and dreams it won’t happen here? Give me a break. let me sell you some Hope with my Barack Obama t-shirt.

  85. Max Allstadt

    I actually think that polymarriage between consenting adults should be legal.

    The government’s role in the bedroom should be to set the age of consent, enforce violations of the age of consent, and enforce violations of general consent. And it should end there.

    I know people who identify as polyamorous. I believe that it may be innate too. And even if it isn’t innate, the government should stay out of trying to regulate people’s desire to love one another on their own terms.

    A legal marriage is effectively a boilerplate contract, sanctioned by the government. In a truly free society, we’d throw out the boilerplate, and the government would recognize any contract between consenting adults.

    We already allow pre-nups to void some of the boilerplate. We should go further. Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Unitarians, you name it, all religions have a slightly different take on what a marriage is. Let them all draft different contracts. Let agnostics draft their own custom contracts. Let polyamorists draft poly-contracts.

    There could even be 10 year contracts, or contracts for people who want to share child raising responsibilities without cohabiting.

    The point is that love is not a one size fits all proposition. The only thing that should affect a contract (or for those of you who are religious, a covenant) is the competence of the signers. So as with contracts in current law, the only thing that should get in the way of the state recognizing a marriage contract is if the signers are underage, or if there’s fraud involved.

    That’s what real freedom of thought would look like. Unfortunately, defying the laws of tradition is a hell of a challenge. Maybe by the time I’m Hoopes’ age, it will be this way. I hope so.

  86. David

    And there it is. Boy, I sure was off-base with my comments on the next step being polygamy. Anyway, I suggest you study the dynamics of polygamist societies, perhaps even living in one for awhile, before you support it. The effects on both children and women are alarming.

    I also find it interesting that many folks like yourself use the ‘government get out of the bedroom’ at the same time proposing the government inserts itself in every other aspect of my life, from employment to where Wal-Mart can set up shop to whether or not I can put a bathroom in my garage.

  87. Livegreen

    David, It’s not just in CA, it’s across the U.S. that you can merry your cousin. Like with switching your analogies to suit your argument when you’re wrong, most of your arguments are based on ignoring others points or side-tracking to other issues.

    Your argument that gay marriage will lead to polygamy has no proof either in fact or in your examples. It’s a total side-track. And you’ve ignored the falacies in your other arguments rather than address them. It might help you feel right, but it doesn’t make it so.

    The studies you refer to are regarding intact vs. broken families. They are not about straight vs. gay families. So the premise of your “reams of data” on THIS subject is false.

    And the experiences on the ground of working gay families with 2 comitted parents is not one anecdote, it’s demonstrated in significant numbers. Dave, do you have kids in a school where there are gay couples? If yes, what do u observe about the similarities and differences between gay and straight couples? If no, without studies of the
    comparisons, how can you know?

  88. Max Allstadt

    I didn’t say polygamy. I said polyamory.

    The detrimental affects of polygamy that you’re likely cite are all based on fundamentalist societies. That’s why I placed such a strong emphasis on adult consent. I also think there needs to be freedom to exit the contract.

    Fundamentalist Islamic polygamy, along with splinter Mormon sect polygamy, and other forms of fundamentalist polygamy all involve forced marriages, under age brides, and absolute power of the husband over his wives. That is absolutely not what I was promoting. I spent many years in Asia, and I have a very good idea of what kind of horrendous things happen in forced marriages in fundamentalist societies.

    The next step is not fundamentalist polygamy/slavery. The polyamory I speak of can be multiple husbands or multiple wives, but it is nothing like what you’re afraid of, because it requires adult consent, and the freedom to walk away. Those freedoms are irrelevant to the number of parties involved.

    Monogamous marriages in european history had the same problems with unconsenting child brides and women being seen as property. We didn’t ban monogamy. We banned child marriages and gave women rights.

  89. Robert

    In what is probably a vain attempt to return this to the issue of Hoopes, lets turn the discussion around. Would anybody here support V being fired from her library job because of her support for gay marriage? I think not. As long as she did not proselytize at the workplace, and did not try to leverage her position at the library to in support of gay marriage. Now V couldn’t be fired for her viewpoint, because of civil service and other protections. Hoopes does not have those protections, so the city has the power to punish him for a political/religious viewpoint. A viewpoint that, rightly or wrongly, is shared by a large number of people in the state. This seems to be the act of a bully, done because they can get away with it. There has been no suggestion that he has used his position to push his agenda on the board, or used his position at the Paramount to influence others to his viewpoint. His support of Prop 8 appears to have been the act of a private citizen.

    Now as to whether he is qualified, that is something totally different. But his political/religious viewpoint on this issue would appear to be totally unconnected to qualifications for the position.

  90. Max Allstadt

    Actually, while I’m at it, there are great reams of data to suggest that the divorce rate in conservative red states is higher than in blue states. So is the rate of domestic violence. If that’s what “family values” creates, I’ll pass on those values, thanks.

  91. Robert

    Marriage of first cousins is allowed in fewer than half of the states, and is a criminal offense in Texas.

    There are sound biological reasons for prohibiting the marriage of cousins, or at least prohibiting (socially) offspring. In the absence of birth control methods, that led to the prohibition of marriage between cousins.

  92. Max Allstadt


    Apples and oranges. Hoopes, being a political appointee, is not immune from politics. He should have known that in a city that is overwhelmingly pro-equality, his financial support of inequality would be a political liability.

    The voters have the right to demand the heads of any political appointees who are controversial enough to become a target. There’s a reason we make certain board positions subject to appointment and approval: we feel those positions are important enough that the public should have some influence over who gets to hold them.

    We’ve had more than one Planning Commission appointment blocked by public outcry. Nobody in the press went nuts over those rejections. The only reason that we’re seeing a different reaction this time around is because certain journalists don’t understand the definition of equality or free speech.

  93. David

    Ok, regarding cousin marriage:
    24 states ban it, 6 states allow it essentially only if you agree not to have kids.
    I should have used a niece for an argument.

    My argument is not a side-track, it’s being witnessed around the world. When you start changing the definition of marriage, it doesn’t stop with gay marriage…polygamists and others soon start pushing their agendas. QED. How in the world can you believe it won’t happen here when it’s already happening in Canada, Britain and elsewhere?? We don’t have Mormons? We don’t have Muslims? They DID the experiment. See the results. Is America all that different?

    My children are going to a Catholic school. First, because the academics at the local public school are beyond bad, and second, because I do not agree with them taking time out from reading and math to teach about homosexuality (in a K-5 school!…I’m fine with middle school, but come on. K-5? Really?)

    The fact is that kids have the best outcome when raised by a father and a mother. Boys, especially, do better with their fathers present and involved. Two women do not equal a father and a mother. This isn’t difficult to understand. Calling two women (as an example, not singling out lesbians) a “nuclear family” or a “committed household” or whatever doesn’t change the fact that neither one is a man. Seriously. It doesn’t. Two plus two equals four. Not three or five, no matter how much you love Big Brother.

    Even advocates of gay marriage admit the “science” of studying gay parents is largely crap:
    Heck, I remember “studies” in the ’70′s and ’80′s (as the divorce rates were skyrocketing) purportedly showing that kids in divorced households did just fine. Turns out, not so much. turns out that the accumulated wisdom of millennia-old traditions was better. hmm. And all these educated fools had to do was take a look at what was happening to black families.

  94. Robert

    I said you had the power, but that doesn’t make it wise. Choosing appointees for political correctness instead of expertise tends to lead towards mediocrity.

    Planning commission nominees that I remember being controversial were targeted for viewpoints that were related to their potential role as a planning commissioners.

  95. MarleenLee

    Robert: The issue is not his “viewpoint.” He’s entitled to his “viewpoint.” It’s the huge financial contribution that made this an issue. Also, he isn’t being “punished.” A bunch of people have protested his appointment. That’s called free speech. You’re welcome to call it being a “bully,” but frankly, I think spending $26,000 to try to force your “viewpoint” on other people is being even more of a bully.

  96. David

    Max, polygamy invariably leads to forced marriages, child marriages etc. Why? Simple math. There ends up being a shortage of women/surplus of men. Women become a hoarded resource that men fight over, so they go to find them younger (child brides) before other men do, etc. Your happy world of “polyamory” between consenting adults has never existed, nor will it, even if your proposals come to pass.

    out of curiosity, when gay couples start getting divorces, will that ruin it for you?

    Interesting too Marlene how freely spending your own money on a political view is terrible…how do you feel about political ads by public sector unions?

  97. Livegreen

    David, I agree with your arguments against polygamy, all I’m saying is your examples don’t show that gay marriage led to it. Instead it appears it’s freedom of religion that did.

    Point my way to scientific studies that show something negative for children raised in families of committed gay couples.

    Not all our public schools are crap. That is a false and unfair generalization. Yes many are, but many many are not. You do a diservice to Oakland’s many good schools by saying so.

  98. Max Allstadt

    David, you’re spouting completely unfounded theory. We’re only barely beginning as a society to see stable non-monogomous non-fundamentalist partnerships.

    As for my happy world, I’m not advocating for a transformation in the way that the majority lives. I’m advocating for a world that accommodates sexual minorities without bias. I want a world where Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, the Transgendered, the Intersex, the non-monogamous and the monogamous all have equal rights.

    You seem to be advocating for a world where heteromonogamous partnerships have more rights than all other partnerships. I will fight that archaic and intolerant worldview until I’m dead.

  99. Robert Gammon

    Just because polygamists are likely to head to court if the Supremes ultimately decide that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, it doesn’t mean they will win. In fact, there’s little indication that they ever will — no matter what happens around the world.
    In the Prop. 8 case in federal court, one of the plaintiffs’ main arguments comes under the Equal Protection clause of the US constitution. The plaintiffs hope that the courts will ultimately view gays as a protected minority under this clause, because if they do, then they will almost assuredly win. That’s why there’s been such a big fight over whether gays and lesbians have political power or not. If they don’t, then they arguably should be part of a protected class, like race and ethnicity, that can’t be discriminated against. Under such a scenario, then the courts would use a “strict scrutiny” standard to determine whether Prop. 8 is unconstitutional, a pretty low-bar for the plaintiffs to cross.

    But even if the courts decide to reject the protected class argument, the plaintiffs could still win using the more common standard employed under the Equal Protection Clause, known as “rational basis.” Under this standard, laws such as Prop. 8 are constitutional if they further “a legitimate governmental interest.” Despite your claims of reams of data that gay parents are less suitable to child-rearing than straight parents, this is actually an issue of significant controversy. And based on what happened this past week, the defenders of Prop. 8 have had a tough time making a convincing argument that gays can’t be good parents. This is a key point, because utlimately the courts will have to decide as to whether there is “a legitimate governmental interest” in restricting the rights of gays to wed because they allegedly aren’t as good parents as straights.

    But, it’s hard to see how polygamists can overcome this basic standard. Unlike the gay vs. straight parents argument, there is little controversy over whether polygamy, as it has been practiced in the United States, mostly in Utah and Arizona, with forced marriages of teen-age girls, is healthy for kids. As a result, it’s an easy argument to make that there is a “legitimate governmental interest” in denying polygamists the right to legally marry. And so your slippery-slope argument turns out to be not that slippery at all.

  100. David

    LG, the argument used in the Canadian case (human rights) was the same as that used by gays. The case came after gay marriage legalization.

    I do no disservice to Oakland’s good schools. I said my “local school.” Unlike some posters here, I do not live in those good school districts, as I cannot afford to. The nearby Catholic school is not only cheaper than trying to buy a house in Rockridge etc, but also a pretty good school.

    As for “scientific studies,” there is ample evidence that boys, in particular, do best when there is a father present. Again, two lesbians do not make a father. We’ve done this experiment. For 40+ years we, as a society, have been devaluing fathers, to the degree that 70% of black boys grow up without one. To a large degree, the difficulties in the black community spring from that. As for “two dads,” there is evidence that boys model their relationship behavior on how they see their father treat their mother. Two dads do not make a mother.

    Given the quite small proportion of gay couples who want children, it is unlikely that you will see social pathologies to the same extent as you see in the black community, but again, we’ve seen the results there.

    That’s fine, Max. I prefer fighting for freedoms that are meaningful, such as freedom to pursue my economic interests with minimal government interference. These social issues are interesting, but become less important if we can make the government less important.

  101. Max Allstadt

    I’d like to add that the conservative christian vision of what marriage is supposed to be is not in fact what the norm is.

    In order to comply with a conservative Catholic view of what’s sexually normal or right you’d have to do the following:

    Never have sex before marriage.
    Never cheat on your spouse.
    Never use birth control.
    Never engage in anal or oral intercourse.
    Never get divorced.

    I would bet that less than 10% of married Americans actually live up to that standard. It’s impossible, and archaic. The usual result of imposing those standards is that it makes people lie to each other.

    David, do you meet those standards? Because if you do, you’re the minority.

  102. Robert

    ML, If its about money, there were 4 donors of $10,000 or more opposing Prop 8 in Oakland, should these also be blocked from appointments? What about the 150 or so donors in Oakland of $1000 or more? If I remember, there was over $50M spent on Prop8, for and against. In that context, $26,000 does not really seem like a ‘huge’ contribution, being less than 0.1% of the total.

  103. David

    Max. Do you really want to get into a theological discussion?

    First of all, the ‘norm’ in America is Protestant, not Catholic. Most Protestant denominations:
    1) allow for birth control
    2) allow for divorce.

    Second of all, because many, if not most Catholics ignore certain teachings of the Church, it does not mean that it makes those actions right. And Max, you most certainly aren’t my Confessor.

    Third, it seems like a lot of kids in my neighborhood are crackheads. Does that mean we should legalize crack for children?

    You have a vision of the future based on a polygamous ideal that has never existed. Who’s more deluded?

  104. V Smoothe Post author

    Enough, David. Your comments are completely off topic and not relevant to the subject matter of this blog. Take it somewhere else.

  105. David

    Yep. And Max’s are.

    In any case, the man’s fiduciary responsibilities are to the Paramount; his political beliefs are irrelevant to his job. Period.

  106. Max Allstadt

    It’s not a job. It’s an appointment. A volunteer post, which brings with it prestige. That prestige is bestowed by the City’s elected officials. They’re my representatives. As a resident of Oakland, I have an ownership stake in that prestige. It’s part mine, to give and to take away.

    I don’t want my representatives to bestow that kind of prestige on somebody who doesn’t believe in equal rights. Period.

  107. Livegreen

    David, “Local schools” in the plural is what tripped me up. I understand what you’re saying about fathers, all I’m saying is studies showing comparisons to broken families aren’t the same as comparing to gay families, and there aren’t any studies about two same-sex parent families. Without that you can’t say they’re bad.

  108. Mary Hollis

    Max writes:

    “I don’t want my representatives to bestow that kind of prestige on somebody who doesn’t believe in equal rights. Period.”

    BUT, BUT, BUT, this entire debate is about what exactly equal rights are and who should enjoy them. That process of discovery and determination is working itself out both through the ballot box and through the Courts.

    But to assume that we already have the answer, and that that answer happens to be yours, and that anyone who disagrees with that is not only wrong but unworthy is, well, unworthy.

    If your case has any merit, and I believe that it does, then you should not fear a healthy, vibrant and even well-funded opposition.

    You should relish the debate and not seek to silence it. The ability to tolerate a diverse range of opinions, even on matters of vital concern to yourself, is surely the hallmark of a civilized democracy. You may disagree with Hoopes, as I do, but you should also respect his right to have a contrary view. If we lose that, we lose everything.

  109. Max Allstadt

    I already have the answer. I know who should enjoy equal rights. Everybody.

    As I already said, I support Mr. Hoopes right to feel that Gay Marriage is wrong. If he doesn’t want to marry a gay man, I’m not going to force him to do that. I’m not going to show up on his doorstep with a preacher, Liberace, and a shotgun, and force them to get married. That would be wrong.

    There, I’ve respected his rights. You’re welcome, Lorenzo.

    I don’t respect his right to force his contrary view on other people. He has legal means to do this, and he used them. I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to respect it. And I sure as hell don’t have to sit back and not fight his attempt to oppress my friends. He used all available legal means. So I get to do the same. Fair is fair.

  110. Mary Hollis

    You don’t have the answer. You have an opinion.

    And he wasn’t forcing his opinion on anyone. Prop 8 didn’t force anyone to do anything. It merely gave everyone a free choice, as has every election since the dawn of this country.

    Nobody is oppressing your friends. They are inviting a debate and a democratic process. Fear that at a much greater peril.

    And while I disagree with his view, in a very real sense, I fear your brand of intolerance even more. You’re as bad as he is.

  111. Max Allstadt

    You think that passing a law that prevents people from marrying who they choose isn’t oppression?

  112. Mary Hollis

    Every law that ever passed since the dawn of this country stopped someone from doing something. That is what laws do. In fact, it’s the only thing that laws do. It is their specific purpose.

    A better question is whether it is good law. And that is a debate worth having. It’s not a debate that should be stifled because someone says “it’s obvious”. Maybe the electorate decides. Maybe the Courts. Maybe Congress. But it will be decided.

    Historically gays could not marry. So gays aren’t being prevented from marrying any more now than they have been for 400 years. Hoopes isn’t changing anything – he simply does not want anything to change.

    I support same sex marriage. I do not support the censorship of opposing views. Lose people like me on this fight and you lose the war. Play the long game and respect your opponents.


  113. Max Allstadt


    I asked you a yes or no question.

    Also, when people begin a response with “a better question would be…” it’s because they don’t want to answer the question they were asked in the first place.

    Nice attempt at a dodge. Actually no, I take that back. It wasn’t nice. It was hamhanded and completely transparent.

    I ask you again, slightly paraphrased:

    If someone created a constitutional ammendment that barred you from marrying who you chose, would you be oppressed? Yes? or no?

  114. Matt


    That was a nice abuse of the concept of tolerance you wrote. Advocating tolerance for people who oppress others is pretty damn manipulative. For your information, tolerance does not mean someone has to like what you have to say and vice versa. It means to judge others on their merits, as opposed to your prejudices.

    Mark and I and many others are perfectly tolerant of Mr. Hoopes, because we’re basing our opinion of his unfitness to serve on the Paramount board on how unfair and unjust his actions were. We’re simply looking at the fact he used $25,000 to fund a campaign that sought to remove civil rights from an oppressed minority group with a simple majority vote and saying that showed very poor judgment and he’s not worthy to serve on the board. I’m also perfectly tolerant of you because I judged your statements on their merits. You advocated tolerance for a group of oppressors who have a ravenous hunger to take away the rights of gays. Well, that’s manipulative and an utter abuse of the concept of tolerance.

    I don’t know what it’s going to take to snap you and others out of your indifference? What if Hoopes funded a campaign to define marriage as the union of one white man and one white women… or one Hispanic man and one Hispanic women… or one black man and one black women –relegating all other unions to domestic partnerships. Does that help? I don’t expect it to. You probably blame me for being gay, for wanting the right to marry and to have a family of my own while I’m still living on planet Earth.

  115. Matt

    Before I crash…

    7,001,084 out of 36,961,664 (est 2009) Californians voted for Prop 8 -that’s not a majority. Voter turn out was 79%, meaning only 41.27% of eligible voters voted yes. That’s still not a majority. Where did some of you get “over half of” Californians voted yes? More importantly, I wonder if some of you have never seriously thought this question over, “If everyone was jumping off a cliff, would you do it to?”

    Again, the indifference is disheartening.

    Mary, regarding your Hamilton quote, I bet Hamilton would be against laws written by the majority that only the minority are required to follow because the quote you mentioned was directed to the British for making laws willy-nilly applicable only to The Colonies without any consideration to The Colonies opinion on the matters.

    I have a better one.

    “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” -MLK

    He wrote that in regards to laws the majority writes, but only the minority is required to follow.

  116. David

    Matt, by your ‘reasoning’ there is no legitimate law, or elected official as we never have anywhere close to the turnout required to have a ‘true’ majority.

    try again.

  117. jack b dazzle


    Thank you for sticking in. The tone taken against you is upsetting to a lot of people who read this board, but don’t want to comment because there is no winning here. It is a real problem as I see it with Oakland. You can’t comment on how things are done without being called a racist/bigot or some other offensive term. It scares away the competent and discourages discourse.

    I am rabidly against Prop 8, and I will do whatever is necessary to help overturn it, but I still want the best person to be running anything that involves taxpayer money in Oakland. If we want to have a Better Oakland, then the tone of conversation has to change.

  118. Matt

    Jack, Hoopes is a bigot and Mary is a sympathetic voice… there’s no nasty tone. If you want to side with someone who’s actions hurt other people -what do you expect in return, roses?

    I’m tolerating people who advocate and sympathize with people who think I don’t deserve equal rights just fine sir. No one is advocating violence or discrimination against Hoopes or Mary or Prop 8 supports. Man, someone posted MLK’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail and after reading it it’s like people haven’t changed a bit in 40 years. Jack, Mary et al, you’re asking for tolerance toward people who are intolerant to the extent they got rights taken away from the people THEY don’t tolerate!

    David, I didn’t reason anything. I stated the numbers. Do you disagree with the numbers I stated?

    What ever happened to majority rule with minority rights? Is someone here claiming gays are not a minority? Is someone here going to attempt to claim gays are not discriminated against? Then what the heck is Prop 8?

    I really wish some of you would stop thinking of gay people in the abstract. We’re freaking people and this law actually hurt us. If it is upheld you are all potentially in the sights of an oppressive majority as well. That is really, really bad -take it from someone who knows.

  119. MarleenLee

    Mary, your argument about gays not being allowed to marry in the past, and that somehow that means they aren’t being deprived of any rights, doesn’t make any sense. Up until the early 1900s, women around the world didn’t have the right to vote. I’m sure it was a very radical concept back then to allow them to vote, and for many people it took some getting used to. (In fact, it has been a very slow process getting the rest of the world to allow women to vote, and it’s still not allowed in Saudi Arabia!)

    But if I’d been around back then and somebody who’d given tons of money to the “don’t let women vote” campaign had been up for some board appointment, I’d have been protesting that too.

  120. David

    Ok Matt. Your statement that ‘only’ 41.27% of eligible voters voted yes was just stating the numbers.

    By comparison, about 33% of eligible voters voted for Obama in 2008.

    Just stating the numbers.

  121. Colin

    No, Max, it’s not oppression. It’s unjust and it’s wrong and it’s unfair, but it isn’t oppression. Oppression does not mean what you think it means, and I suspect you’re using that word because it justifies your sense of righteousness and makes you feel like you’re marching arm in arm with MLK.

    This is not unlike the previous comparison to lynching. A lot of innocent black men were lynched, and it was legally accepted and socially tolerated. When Mathew Shepard was murdered, it was not legal or tolerated, and there was only one of him. That doesn’t make it any less of a tragedy, but it does make it fundamentally different.

    Again, if Prop 8 made murdering gay people a misdemeanor, this sort of breathless hysteria would be understandable because there really wouldn’t be any social recourse. This is not the Congo, and nobody’s life is threatened because of this injustice.

    My friend who really wants to marry his boyfriend and now can’t is heartbroken about it, but he proposed to him the other night. Because he still loves him more than anyone ever, and all of those things that marriage symbolizes are still true today, even if they can’t get married. The issue isn’t that they’re oppressed, it’s that they’re in love. They want to change the law, and are working towards that end, but as he put it they haven’t been teargassed or beaten or shot at. And they don’t care about this old coot and his money, and certainly don’t think that this one man is what’s keeping them down.

    And none of this says you shouldn’t fight Prop 8. You should, with all your heart, as should every sane person in the state. But the issue of one old rich guy getting elected to a board that seems eager to have him has nothing to do with Prop 8. I don’t care about how much money he gave to his cause, the proposition passed because a lot of people in this state are uncomfortable with gay people. If you want to fix that problem, you do it by persuading those people to change their minds, not by attacking its supporters tangentially.

    Punishing this old man for his views does nothing to affect the fundamental problem, just like getting a coworker fired because she’s anti-abortion doesn’t address the fundamental problem.

    Harvey Milk had fundamental disagreements with many people on the SF city council, and he worked very hard to change their minds. He didn’t vilify them – he left that to history.

  122. Matt

    Good David. So then it would be wrong to say the majority of American’s voted for Obama as well. The facts are the facts.

  123. jack b dazzle


    I don’t hear Mary being a sympathetic voice, and I am not siding with someone’s actions that hurt other people. That is our entire point. You are reading things in that are not there.

    This should be about the Paramount and Oakland, not about MLK, Birmingham, lynching and majority rights. Prop 8 is a different discussion. A good discussion yes, but different than who should be on the board of the Paramount.

    If kicking Hoopes off the board would get prop 8 overturned, I would agree with you, and I bet Mary would too, but it won’t, so lets discuss what is best for the Paramount. Hoopes is not the best, so lets get rid of him for reasons other than his political position.

  124. Colin

    Lynching wasn’t legal in the same sense that selling pot in Oaksterdam isn’t legal. Technically you couldn’t do it, but nobody got arrested for it for long stretches of US history. It was accepted. How often do you hear about people being successfully prosecuted for it before 1950? Never.

    And you’re ignoring the larger point.

  125. Matt

    Oh, sorry. Here you go Colin…

    I’ve experienced aggression and discrimination first hand. Specifically, in the late 90’s I had to quit a job in Grapevine, TX because my boss kept asking me if I was the pitcher or the catcher and why I liked things in my ass. Around the same time a family near me and my date erupted into taunts of “faggots!”, “you’re fucking sick!” while throwing trash at us. We were just holding hands. I’ve had groups of people attempt to start fights with me by calling me a “faggot” and so on just for walking past them on Eddy Street in the Western Addition. A good friend of mine was attacked two years ago on Folsom near the Cat Club in SF because he glanced at a guy who happen to be homophobic.

    None of this is oppression?

    Jack, Hoopes did a poor job on the board last year. Maybe it was because he was sidetracked…

  126. Colin

    V, they’re legal under local law, not federal. Marijuana is still illegal in this country. Any time the feds want to come in and raid them they can. It doesn’t happen because of “local concerns”, as with the murder of uppity slaves.

    Matt, everything you posted about stonewall and personal events is true, I’m not denying that or diminishing it or saying it’s okay. I’m not saying that horrible things haven’t and won’t continue to people because of their sexual orientation. They will, unfortunately. But everything you cite happened regardless of Prop 8, and Prop 8 didn’t make those events legal. And if Prop 8 gets overturned by the courts tomorrow, some idiot somewhere will still look at you as a lesser human being because you’re gay several more times in your life. Prop 8 is not the crux of the bigotry, it is a minor part, and one that will be defeated.

    Conflating all issues of injustice into one big mass doesn’t help solve them. Equating laws that curtail some rights with lynching isn’t a reasonable way to discuss the issues at hand.

  127. Robert

    Matt, if Hoopes did a poor job on the board last year, then the whole discussion could have been about his performance. Instead the discussion placed his political/religious beliefs in the limelight, and at least in this conversation, has done little but show that some supporters of gay marriage can be just as intolerant and bigoted as Mr. Hoopes may or may not be.

  128. Max Allstadt

    I still don’t see why anyone should be tolerant of somebody who spends money with the deliberate intent of interfering in the love lives of people he never met.

    Some of the Prop 8 commercials paid for by Hoopes were outright acts of libel against every queer parent in the world.

    Check this out: This commercial suggests that gay parents are emotionally and intellectually incapable of explaining their own marriage to a five year old.

  129. V Smoothe Post author

    Enough, you guys. I think at this point everyone has sufficiently explained their position, and it’s fairly clear nobody’s mind is going to be changed. The discussion is going nowhere except in circles. Can we please talk about the specific plan or Alta Bates or something?

  130. Matt

    Yes, V, I’ll let it go for the sake of the blog. I wish people would use this damn thing to listen to each other, though.

  131. Mary Hollis

    V, with respect you opened a can of worms with this topic, and surely must have reasonably known that you would. You introduced the notion that tolerance is optional and then expressed shock when others latched onto that.

    Moreover, your initial post was hardly the epitome of neutrality and objectivity either.

    Whenever we broach a topic here that is broader than parochial Oakland concerns, there is a danger of things getting hijacked, as in this case.

    Maybe you should limit responses to topics to, say, 100 replies, to focus peoples’ attentions. The last word is over-rated. And I’m sure this won’t be the last word on this. But for the record, I believe that tolerance and respect is most of what we have that keeps us civilized.

    V, can you truncate this topic?